Sri Lanka won the one-day series against Pakistan with a crushing seven-wicket victory in Dambulla on Saturday.
Batting first Pakistan collapsed as they could only make a mere 101 in a rain-affected match, which was reduced to 48 overs. In reply, Sri Lanka cantered to their target of 102 in only 18.2 overs with opener Tillakaratne Dilshan leading the way with 50 not out.
For the Sri Lankans it was the seamers who wreaked havoc in the Pakistani line-up. Amongst the seamers it was medium pacer Thisara Perera who did most of the damage as he took four wickets.
Both teams had everything to play for as this game was a decider for both sides. Both Sri Lanka and Pakistan were deadlocked at 1 all after two games. Skipper Misbah Ul Haq opted to bat first in Saturday's game. In the earlier two games the Pakistanis had chased.
The Sri Lanka bowlers were on the money right from the start. Star fast-bowler Lasith Malinga and fellow pacer Dhammika Prasad imposed a stranglehold on the Pakistan openers, from which the side could not recover from. Opener Sharjeel Khan was the first one to go when he was caught at second slip by Mahela Jayawardane off the bowling by Prasad. This brought Mohammad Hazfeez to the crease.
Both Malinga and Prasad were bowling with a lot of fire as the Pakistan batsman could not get going. In the first five overs they had made a mere six runs. The situation just got worse as right-hander Ahmed Shezad got out for 10 as Prasad too his second wicket in the seventh over.
In the next over Hafeez got out with Pakistan on 14. Pakistan were truly in all sorts of trouble at 14 for three. Then Misbah and Fawad Alam added 33 runs before the skipper fell for 18. After his dismissal, rest of the batsmen fell like ninepins. Alam was the only one, who with his 38, put up bit of a fight. His 38 was the top-score. In the end Pakistan folded up for 101 with as many eight batsman recording single-figure scores.
A total of 101 was never going to be enough and Pakistan needed quick wickets. Dilshan, however, gave the Lanka a good start as he and Upul Tharanga put on 46 first runs for the first wicket before Tharanga got out to left-arm seamer Mohammad Irfan.
This brought Kumar Sangakkara to the crease, but he could only make two before another left-arm quick Wahab Riaz got him out. Both Dilshan and Jayawardane took the Lankans closer to the target.
However, Jayawardane, with only two runs to win, got out to off-spinner Saeed Ajmal. Dilshan saw to it the remaining two runs were scored as he ended up with 50 not out as Sri Lanka reigned triumphant in the match and the series.